The extraordinary crisis of COVID-19 times has changed the various contours of this world and all businesses. However, even before this crisis, the consumption pattern of content all over the world had been changing. Over the last several decades, this trend has only accelerated, with the digitization of content spearheading this evolution. This change is also strongly observed in India, where the media landscape has undergone a radical transformation that has transformed it into one of the largest, multi-device, diversified content of all genres and most lucrative, markets for entertainment in the world.
The Indian entertainment industry was worth an estimated Rs 1.6 trillion in 2019, as per the last KPMG report. This figure represents a year-on-year growth of 13 percent, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent between 2015 and 2019.
Earlier, it had been an eventful 2019 for the media, marketing and advertising industry. With the World Cup, IPL, and the General Elections, 2019 started on an upbeat note but mid-way through, began to see challenges that emerged in the form of an economic slowdown and a muted festive season, even before the COVID-19 crisis times. The ad revenues struggled to grow, and various national and international research groups revised it downwards. Despite these challenges, as the industry readies to take on a new decade, leaders across domains anticipate the year and times ahead to be one of disruption; with television seeing some more upheaval with the implementation of the New Tariff Order (NTO) and possibly NTO2 after some time.
However, digital will continue to grow and become India’s second biggest medium in terms of brand investments. The coming years will also see a consolidation of audiences across screens on big-ticket properties like live sporting events, breaking news, and election coverage. While urban consumers are shifting from DTH and cable to OTT, the coming years will also see investment in technology and tools by the players to aid measurement.
On the television front, the advent of value-added services (VAS), in the form of niche and independent content of high international quality, even if dubbed in Hindi and regional languages, has come to stay for cable and DTH segments. This also helps these platforms to tide over the challenges of OTT platforms.
VAS or platform services channels, being offered by the MSO cable and DTH operators, generally include music, movies, news, devotional, entertainment, local news, live events, teleshopping, kids’ programs, serials, documentaries, regional programs, local plays, infotainment, market news, educational, and interactive games. Some of these programs are distinct from the programs offered on registered TV channels while many of them are similar. There can be content from international or national sources and can be dubbed in any regional language. These contents need to be under Programming Code of India, and movies need censor certificates. Digitization has paved the way for introduction of more specialized VAS on cable TV platforms also. DTH and MSO cable operators can offer movie-on-demand (MoD) and pay-per-view (PPV) kind of services to their own subscribers. This model for MSOs primarily can be unique and excellent for competing with OTT, as the MSOs’ digital bandwidth in hybrid fiber cable is mostly higher than in DTH platforms, and also they can segment content distribution region-wise, instead of all India transmission. In these difficult times of content production, much can be done with archived contents available across the globe and in India. India’s public broadcaster got a recent success on this!!
OTT platform’s strategic growth in India
The video streaming industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 22 percent, to reach Rs 1 billion by 2023. This represents the highest growth rate among all segments in the M&E industry. Driven by massive improvements in bandwidth connectivity and availability, increasingly affordable smart devices, and mobile data that is amongst the cheapest in the world, India’s vast population has finally begun to join the digital revolution. The beneficiaries of this were India’s rural population also. There is surely going to be an insatiable hunger for digital video content consumption, maybe platform agnostic! Streaming in India has evolved into a predominantly mobile-dominated activity. We all understand the Indian consumer’s preference for consuming content through their phones; however, the television providing OTT content as a device will only move up. COVID-19 times not one off!
Consumer to creator – The new era of UGC (user-generated content)
As technology has advanced, the dividing line between the content consumer and the content creator has become increasingly blurred. Much of this shift has been driven by new media channels, and the vast audience they provide access to. The new social media platforms have given rise to a generation of influencers, who boast dedicated fan followings numbering in millions, and endorsement deals with global brands. The ease with which these platforms can be accessed, and the success of these individuals, have combined to transform a generation of passive consumers into active creators. The emergence of so many new viewing options has polarized the ecosystem into two distinct streams. On the one hand are premium subscription services that offer high-quality, longform content in the shape of TV shows and movies.
The services of international OTT giants have these platforms in a continuation of the traditional viewing experience offered by linear TV, updated for the era of smart devices. In direct opposition to this is the development of the shorter, vertical, bite-sized pieces of content offered by some of other social media content platforms! Created and curated by the public at large, they offer creative minds a platform through which they can express themselves. Interestingly, it can gradually move to a delicately balanced form of co-existence, in which these methodologies act as complementary forces – with professionals populating the former and content creators the latter. A generational change is moving rapidly!
Effect of overly tightened cable ties evenly spaced on HD-SDI cable in terms of return loss
In a studio facility, manually patching video is usually employed to provide system flexibility. For the reasons outlined above, patch cords and connections in the patch-bay all need to be monitored for return loss. A good electrical connection begins with a proper physical connection.
Cable manufacturers use impedance bridges and other very sophisticated equipment to measure performance characteristics. However, the television engineer uses a different tool, a waveform monitor, capable of displaying an eye diagram of the applied signal. Rather than measuring the impedance of the interfaces, the eye diagram presents the voltage waveform of the received video data signal. After a high-definition serial digital video signal has travelled from a source device, through the coaxial cable to a destination device, its signal will be attenuated as calculated above. The cable’s characteristics (return loss value) will determine the amount of signal amplitude delivered to the destination device versus the amount lost or reflected by the cable.
Based on the amount of attenuation, the receiving device may have to recover the signal from the background noise present in the copper cable. Recovering the HD-SDI signal is generally performed by automatically adding an appropriate amount of equalization to the receiver in order to return the signal level to its nominal value of 800 mV. The problem with such active equalization systems is that they also amplify noise with the signal.
The data recovery process begins by extracting the clock information from the data. The extracted clock is then used to re-time and decode HD video data. Any noise added to the data hinders the data recovery process. The more noise present, the greater the chances that the clock cannot be recovered perfectly. The addition of noise may make it difficult to identify signal transitions. The decoded data words may not occur with the proper timing stability, resulting in a signal that jitters.
Testing the performance of high-definition video has its roots in high-frequency analog signal analysis (RF), high-speed data analysis, and complex video performance standards. HD signal specifications change the requirements for signal handling and monitoring. All engineers working with uncompressed, high-definition video require an awareness of these multiple disciplines test methods. The eye pattern (or eye diagram display) and jitter measurement are extremely helpful tools for troubleshooting integrity problems of any high-definition signal path.